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)

Networks of quantum wire junctions: A system with quantized integer Hall resistance

without vanishing longitudinal resistivity

Jaime Medina,

1,2

Dmitry Green,

3,*

and Claudio Chamon

2

1

Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Aut ´ onoma de Madrid, 28049 Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain

2

Physics Department, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts 02215, USA

3

170 East 83rd Street, New York, New York 10028, USA

(Received 9 October 2012; revised manuscript received 8 January 2013; published 30 January 2013)

We consider a honeycomb network built of quantum wires, with each node of the network having a Y junction

of three wires with a ring through which ﬂux can be inserted. The junctions are the basic circuit elements for

the network, and they are characterized by 3 ×3 conductance tensors. The low energy stable ﬁxed point tensor

conductances result from quantum effects, and are determined by the strength of the interactions in each wire

and the magnetic ﬂux through the ring. We consider the limit where there is decoherence in the wires between

any two nodes, and study the array as a network of classical three-lead circuit elements whose characteristic

conductance tensors are determined by the quantum ﬁxed point. We show that this network has some remarkable

transport properties in a range of interaction parameters: It has a Hall resistance quantized at R

xy

= h/e

2

, although

the longitudinal resistivity is nonvanishing. We show that these results are robust against disorder, in this case

nonhomogeneous interaction parameters g for the different wires in the network.

DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevB.87.045128 PACS number(s): 73.63.Nm

I. INTRODUCTION

The transport properties of junctions of quantum wires are

of interest seen both from basic and applied perspectives.

From the basic physics aspect, quantum wires provide experi-

mentally realizable ways for studying interacting electrons in

one-dimensional geometries, and in particular junctions where

three or more wires meet can display rather rich behaviors.

Theoretically, the problem of quantum wire junctions is

related to dissipative quantum mechanics in two or higher

dimensions, and to boundary conformal ﬁeld theory.

1,2

It

also has a mathematical connection to certain aspects of

open string theory in a background magnetic ﬁeld.

3,4

From a

practical viewpoint, junctions of quantum wires should serve

as important building blocks for the integration of quantum

circuits, as they are the natural element to split electric signals

and serve as interconnects.

Junctions of quantum wires have been the subject of many

recent studies

1,2,5–23

which have uncovered many interesting

transport properties as a function of interaction strength.

Quantum wires with few transport channels, at low energies,

can be described as Tomonaga-Luttinger liquids, characterized

by a Luttinger parameter g which encodes the electron-electron

interactions.

24–27

The transport properties of a given junction

depends on the Luttinger parameters for each wire. At low

energies, the conductance properties of the junctions of n wires

are encoded in an n ×n conductance tensor or matrix G

jk

that

relate the incoming currents to the applied voltages on the wires

via I

j

=

k

G

jk

V

k

. At low voltages and low temperatures,

the tensor takes universal forms dictated by the nature of the

infrared stable ﬁxed points in the renormalization group (RG)

sense. These ﬁxed points have been categorized for the case of

Y junctions (n = 3) of spinless

2

and spinful

12

electrons as a

function of the interaction parameter g when all the wires are

identical, and more recently in the case when the wires are not

identical and have different values g

i

.

28

In this paper we investigate the transport properties of

networks constructed using Y junctions of quantum wires as

FIG. 1. (a) Scheme of a grid showing the ﬂow of the current and

the boundary conditions. External currents are ﬁxed, as well as the

potential on the node on the upper right corner. (b) Building block

of the grid: Junction of three quantum wires with a magnetic ﬂux

threading the ring. The V

1,2,3

are the voltages applied on each wire,

and the I

1,2,3

are the currents arriving at the junction from each of the

three wires.

building blocks. Figure 1(a) depicts an example of a network

shaped in the form of a rectangle, and Fig. 1(b) shows the

individual Y junctions used in each node. We consider a

simpliﬁed model where the 3 ×3 conductance tensor for each

Y junction is taken to be that dictated by the low energy

quantum RG ﬁxed point, but the transport is treated classically

between any two junctions. The treatment is sensible if the

segment of the wires between two junctions is large compared

to the characteristic dephasing length in the system. But the

length scales of the junction itself, for example, the size of a

ring as shown in Fig. 1(b), should be smaller than the dephasing

length so that the junction is treated quantum mechanically.

The case when the full systemis treated quantummechanically

is extremely difﬁcult to analyze, because it is an interacting

problem. For instance, a lattice version of the problem would

essentially be an example of a two-dimensional interacting

lattice model with a fermion sign problem.

We ﬁnd rather remarkable results for the transport char-

acteristics of the network of Y junctions, even when the

role of quantum mechanics is just to select the RG stable

ﬁxed point conductances of the elementary building blocks.

045128-1 1098-0121/2013/87(4)/045128(7) ©2013 American Physical Society

JAIME MEDINA, DMITRY GREEN, AND CLAUDIO CHAMON PHYSICAL REVIEW B 87, 045128 (2013)

When the conductance is controlled by the chiral ﬁxed points

χ

±

,

1,2

we ﬁnd that the whole network behaves as a Hall

bar, with a Hall resistance that is quantized to R

xy

= ±h/e

2

,

like in the integer quantum Hall effect, with the sign given

by the particular chirality of the ﬁxed points χ

+

or χ

−

.

However, the longitudinal resistivity ρ

xx

= 0, unlike in the

case of the quantized Hall effect where ρ

xx

vanishes. The

quantization of R

xy

is a manifestation of the universal ﬁxed

point conductances. The chiral ﬁxed points are stable for a

range of Luttinger parameters 1 < g < 3, and which of χ

+

or

χ

−

is selected depends on the ﬂux threading the ring in the

Y junction.

1,2

The ﬂux breaks time-reversal symmetry, but it

does not need to be quantized at any given value; because of

interactions, the conductance of the Y junction ﬂows to ﬁxed

point values for a range of ﬂuxes.

The quantization of R

xy

= ±h/e

2

for the network as a

whole is independent of the value of g in the wires, as long as

they are in the range of stability of the chiral ﬁxed points.

Moreover, we show that the quantization R

xy

= ±h/e

2

is

stable against disorder in the wire parameters. Speciﬁcally,

we show that the quantization of R

xy

remains even when the

values of g for different wires are not uniform but disordered,

i.e., they are randomly distributed around some average value

g with some spread δg.

The paper is organized as follows. In Sec. II we brieﬂy

review the results for the conductance characteristics of single

quantumYjunctions, which are the elementary building blocks

for the honeycomb wire networks. In Sec. III we present

analytical results from which one can understand the origin of

the quantization of R

xy

when the conductance tensor of each

of the Y junctions in the network is associated to a chiral ﬁxed

point. In Sec. IV we present numerical studies conﬁrming the

analytical ﬁndings by analyzing grids with different values of

the interaction parameter g, different geometries and sizes, and

extrapolate these results to the thermodynamic limit. These

numerical calculations are of much value for the next step,

taken in Sec. V, where we discuss the robustness of the

quantization of the Hall resistance in the case when the wires

each have different Luttinger parameters distributed randomly.

The Appendix contains a detailed description of the numerical

method to solve our network of Y junctions.

II. SINGLE Y JUNCTION AS AN ELEMENTARY

CIRCUIT ELEMENT

Each of these Y junctions in the network consists of three

wires that are connected to a ring which can be threaded by

a magnetic ﬂux, as shown in Fig. 1(b). This ﬂux breaks time-

reversal symmetry, and the currents in the junction will depend

on the potential at its extremes and the magnetic ﬂux inside

the junction.

The current-voltage response of each Y junction is deter-

mined by its conductance tensor G

jk

. Within linear response

theory, the total current I

j

ﬂowing into the junction from wire

j is related to the voltage V

k

applied to wire k by

I

j

=

k

G

jk

V

k

, (2.1)

where j,k = 1,2,3. Two sum rules apply to the conductance

tensor because of conservation of current and because the

currents are unchanged if the voltages are all shifted by a

constant:

j

G

jk

=

k

G

jk

= 0. (2.2)

The G

jk

reach universal values at lowtemperatures and low

bias voltages. These universal values are dictated by the RG

stable ﬁxed point that is reached for given values of the

Luttinger parameters in the wires. Here we shall focus on

the case where all three wires have the same parameter g. In

Sec. V we will consider the more general case of a network of

wires where the three wires for each Y junction have different

g.

When the three wires have the same g, the ﬁxed point

conductance tensor has a Z

3

symmetry and takes the form

2

G

jk

=

G

S

2

(3δ

jk

−1) +

G

A

2

jk

, (2.3)

where

ij

= δ

i,j−1

−δ

i,j+1

with i +3 ≡ i and we separate

the symmetric and antisymmetric components of the tensor,

whose magnitudes are encoded in the scalar conductances G

S

and G

A

. G

A

vanishes when time-reversal symmetry is not

broken, for instance, in the absence of magnetic ﬂux through

the ring.

The ﬁxed point values of G

S

and G

A

depend on the strength

of electron-electron interactions, encoded in the Luttinger

parameter g. We will focus on the chiral ﬁxed points χ

±

,

which are stable in the range 1 < g < 3.

1,2

In the chiral

cases, the conductances are given by G

S

= G

χ

=

e

2

h

4g

3+g

2

and

G

A

= ±g G

χ

. Thus the chiral conductance tensors are

G

±

jk

=

G

χ

2

[(3δ

jk

−1) ±g

jk

]. (2.4)

We shall work in units where the quantum of conductance

e

2

/h is set to 1.

The Y junctions are then assembled into a network as

shown in Fig. 1(a). We consider a regular hexagonal grid of

Y junctions with 2c external connections on both the top and

bottomsides and r on both the right and left side. Parametrized

in such a way and with wires of unit length, the dimensions of

the grid as a function of r and c are

L

x

= 6c,

(2.5)

L

y

=

√

3(2r +1).

In this grid we shall ﬁx the current ﬂow along the x axis

from left to right and we shall ﬁx the currents ﬂowing into

the top and the bottom to zero, as shown in Fig. 1(a). Given

the conductance tensors at every node of the network, we

compute the potentials and the currents on the links of the grid.

The resistances and resistivities of the networks are studied

for different orientations and systems sizes, and for different

values of g. In the Appendix we present details of the method

used to numerically compute the response of the networks.

III. ANALYTICAL RESULTS

We will measure the longitudinal and transverse responses

in the framework of the classical Hall problem by injecting a

045128-2

NETWORKS OF QUANTUM WIRE JUNCTIONS: A SYSTEM . . . PHYSICAL REVIEW B 87, 045128 (2013)

transverse current along the x axis and imposing a zero current

boundary condition along the two edges that are parallel to the

x axis. This approach suggests that we solve for the potential

in the bulk as a function of the external current. In other words,

we need to invert the fundamental equation (2.1) for I and V

for each junction in the bulk.

While the full network problemis not tractable analytically,

we can still gain some insight from a combination of

analytics and heuristics. In particular, we will be able to prove

quantization of the transverse resistivity analytically, even with

some forms of disorder. Similarly we will derive the general

form of the longitudinal resistivity. We will conﬁrm these

results numerically in later sections. Let us start with the unit

cell of the hexagonal lattice. There are two vertices (nodes)

in each cell and current is directed along the bonds (wires)

as shown in Fig. 2. Looking at the right-hand node ﬁrst, the

potentials on the external wires V

2

and V

3

, and the potential

on the internal wire V

1

, are deﬁned only up to an additive

constant. This means that Eq. (2.1) is not invertible. However,

by setting V

1

= 0, or equivalently shifting all potentials in the

two nodes by a constant V

i

→V

i

−V

1

, the gauge is ﬁxed and

we obtain, using Eq. (2.4), the following:

V

2

−V

1

V

3

−V

1

=

1

2g

2 1 ∓g

1 ±g 2

I

2

I

3

. (3.1)

The solution in the left node is similar but with the permutation

(V

2

,V

3

) →(V

2

,V

3

) and (I

2

,I

3

) →−(I

2

,I

3

), which follows

from rotational symmetry and the orientation that we have

chosen for the currents.

Now consider the potential gradient in the x and y

directions. It is straightforward to derive the change in potential

per unit cell V

x

and V

y

directly from Eq. (3.1) as follows:

x

V = V

3

−V

2

=

1

2g

[2I

1

−I

2

−I

3

∓g(I

2

−I

3

)],

(3.2)

y

V = V

2

−V

3

=

1

2g

[±gI

1

+I

2

−I

3

].

It is instructive to consider a simple case. We will generalize

this result below, but for now consider a uniform current in

the bulk in the x direction (or “armchair” conﬁguration to

borrow nomenclature from graphene). Each horizontal wire in

V

V

V

3 2

2 3

V

A D

C

B

I

I

I

I

I

2

3

1

3

2

FIG. 2. Unit cell of the hexagonal network. Currents are assumed

to be positive when directed along the arrows in the wires. Dotted

lines denote the boundary of the unit cell. The rectangular region

ABCD shown is used for computing the resistances and resistivities

of the network.

each unit cell has a current I

1

= I. By symmetry the other

wires split the current equally: I

2

= I

3

= I

2

= I

3

= −I/2.

This conﬁguration leads to a particularly simple potential

gradient:

x

V = 3I/2g and

y

V = ±I/2.

The result for the resistances and resistivities are apparent

after we account for the geometric factors. Consider the

rectangular region ABCD in Fig. 2, with sides d

AB

=

√

3 and

d

AD

= 2. In the transverse direction the width of the rectangle

is twice the distance between the midpoint of the wires (with

currents I

2

and I

3

), and the voltage drop V

AB

= 2

y

V. The

Hall resistance (which coincides with the Hall resistivity ρ

xy

)

is therefore R

xy

= V

AB

/I = 2

y

V/I = ±1. In other words

the Hall resistance is independent of g and quantized to unity!

Similarly, in the longitudinal direction the length of the

rectangle is 4/3 the distance between the midpoint of the wires-

(with currents I

2

and I

3

), and V

AD

= 4/3

x

V. The longi-

tudinal resistance is R

xx

= 4/3

x

V/I = 2/g. There is an

additional geometric factor in the longitudinal resistivity given

by ρ

xx

= (d

AB

/d

AD

) R

xx

, and it is thus given by ρ

xx

=

√

3/g.

Hence the resistivity is nonzero and there is dissipation unlike

in the standard quantum Hall effect.

Had we used an alternate (“zigzag”) conﬁguration where

the transverse current is zero I

1

= 0 and the uniform current is

in the y direction, I

3

= I

3

= −I

2

= −I

2

= I, we would have

found a similar result, i.e., that the resistance in the x direction

is quantized to R

xy

= ±1 while the resistivity in the y direction

is ρ

yy

=

√

3/g.

We ﬁnd this result both unexpected and remarkable. By

taking the classical conductivity limit for each wire we

have allowed decoherence along the wires. However we

have preserved the quantum coherence on each vertex, as

the chiral relation Eq. (2.4) is by nature a consequence

of quantum scattering. Nonetheless, even after relaxing a

portion of the coherence, some element of quantization in the

thermodynamic limit has survived in the form of an integer

quantized Hall resistivity. On the other hand, decoherence has

destroyed the zero longitudinal resistivity of the quantum Hall

effect, and so we are left with a hybrid quantum-classical

Hall effect. Note also that the simple uniform solution above

suggests robustness against disorder, another element of the

integer quantum Hall effect. As the transverse gradient of V

is independent of g in the uniform bulk, suppose that g is

allowed to vary slowly from vertex to vertex, more slowly

than the current. In this regime we would expect quantization

to persist, and indeed we will conﬁrm that numerically later in

this paper.

We will substantiate the assumptions and ﬁndings above

numerically in the next section.

IV. NUMERICAL RESULTS

In this section we shall present numerical results for the

voltages and currents in the wires of the network. These

numerical studies serve ﬁrst as a check of the analytical results

presented in Sec. III for the case where all the interaction

parameters are the same for all wires. Second, and more

importantly, they serve as a stepping stone to the case of

nonhomogeneous (disordered) interaction parameters in the

wires, which will be considered in Sec. V. The method used

045128-3

JAIME MEDINA, DMITRY GREEN, AND CLAUDIO CHAMON PHYSICAL REVIEW B 87, 045128 (2013)

to solve for the voltages and currents in the grid is presented

in the Appendix.

Let us focus on the armchair layout of Fig. 1(a) (similar

results follow in the case of the zigzag case). Also, without

loss of generality, we consider below only the χ

+

ﬁxed point.

Current is injected and collected uniformly into the wires on

the right and on the left of the network, respectively. More

precisely, there are r wires serving as connections to the outside

on each side of the grid, and current I = I

x

/r is injected in and

collected out of these external wires. The total current ﬂowing

along the horizontal or x direction is therefore I

x

.

The distribution of the currents in the inner parts of the grid

that follow from this uniform injection of external currents is

shown in Fig. 3. We ﬁnd a close to uniform distribution, with

slightly larger currents closer to the edges. This distribution is

independent of the value of g. These patterns of current ﬂow

in the inner wires of the grid are in agreement with the current

distributions discussed in the analytical studies of the previous

section.

The Hall voltage is the potential dropV

y

along the vertical or

y direction. We note that the potential drop V

y

is computed by

looking at the potentials for two points at the same horizontal

position (i.e., the same x position), one at the top and one at

the bottom of the network.

We show in Fig. 4 the potentials measured at the top and

at bottom of the (rectangular shaped) grid. Notice that the

potentials drop linearly with the horizontal direction, but that

the difference between the two potentials V

y

is constant.

The Hall resistance is computed as follows. Let

¯

V

y

be

the average over the horizontal positions x of the Hall

voltage drop. (Since in this case without disorder V

y

is

constant, the average is actually unnecessary here.) Then the

Hall resistance is given by R

xy

=

¯

V

y

/I

x

. We ﬁnd numerically

that R

xy

= 1 as expected from the analytical arguments.

29

Recall that we are working in units where e

2

/h = 1, so indeed

FIG. 3. (Color online) Currents ﬂowing through the Y junctions

that lie along a vertical line in the middle of the bar (x = L

x

/2) as a

function of vertical position y/L

y

. Note that for y values away from

the edges the currents tend to I

1

= 1 and I

2,3

= 1/2, as predicted

analytically for the asymptotic limit.

FIG. 4. (Color online) Voltages at the top and and bottomedges as

a function of horizontal position x/L

x

when the node at the top right

corner is grounded. The grid size is r = 50, c = 60, and g =

√

3.

Notice that the difference between the voltages at the top and bottom

edges for a given x/L

x

is exactly 1 in natural units.

we have

R

xy

=

h

e

2

, (4.1)

which we ﬁnd is independent of the value of g. We remark that

we ﬁnd that this quantization holds independent of the aspect

ratio, orientation (armchair vs zigzag), or size of the grid.

We also computed the potential difference between points

on the left and on the right sides of the grid V

x

as a function of

the vertical direction y. In this case we ﬁnd that the horizontal

potential difference is almost constant as a function of y (as

opposed to the case of the vertical drop V

y

, which is exactly

independent of x). The difference is bigger, by an amount of

order 1/L

y

, when y is in the middle of the grid as compared to

when y is at the edges. We deﬁne

¯

V

x

as the y-position averaged

voltage difference between the left and right sides of the grid.

The longitudinal resistance is given by R

xx

=

¯

V

x

/I

x

, and the

longitudinal resistivity by ρ

xx

= L

y

/L

x

¯

V

x

/I

x

.

We ﬁnd that the longitudinal resistance is nonzero, in

agreement with Sec. III. We ﬁnd numerically, however, that

there are ﬁnite system size corrections to the analytical

predictions. We ﬁnd that

R

xx

(g,L

x

,L

y

) =

√

3

g

L

x

L

y

−A(L

x

,L

y

)

, (4.2)

where A is a factor of order 1 that corrects for ﬁnite sizes.

We ﬁnd numerically that in the thermodynamic limit A →1

for the armchair conﬁguration, whereas A = 0 independent of

system size in the zigzag case. Therefore, in the thermody-

namic limit we obtain

ρ

xx

= lim

L

x

,L

y

→∞

L

y

L

x

R

xx

(g,L

x

,L

y

) =

√

3

g

, (4.3)

in agreement with the result in Sec. III.

The Hall angle θ

H

is given by tan θ

H

= ρ

xy

/ρ

xx

, and we

naturally ﬁnd, given the agreement with the results for ρ

xx

and

045128-4

NETWORKS OF QUANTUM WIRE JUNCTIONS: A SYSTEM . . . PHYSICAL REVIEW B 87, 045128 (2013)

FIG. 5. (Color online) Density plot for the voltages on the grid

nodes for a system with r = 50, c = 60, and g =

√

3. Notice the

constant slope of the equipotential lines, which is related to the Hall

angle θ

H

. The Hall angle depends on the interaction strength and is

given by Eq. (4.4).

ρ

xy

above, that

tan θ

H

=

g

√

3

(4.4)

in the thermodynamic limit. This Hall angle can be visualized

very naturally by plotting the voltages at the wires on the grid,

as shown in Fig. 5. The Hall angle appears as the slope of the

lines of constant voltage. These equipotential lines are straight

in this example where all the wires have the same interaction

parameter g; this is no longer the case when disorder is

introduced in Sec. V.

V. ROBUSTNESS AGAINST DISORDER

In this section we will generalize the wire networks to

the case when the interaction parameters g for each of

the wires in the network are not uniform, but instead are

drawn independently from a distribution. We shall consider

a distribution in which g in each of the wires in the network

takes a value between ( ¯ g −δg, ¯ g +δg), with uniform proba-

bility. Because the interaction parameter should be positive,

δg < ¯ g.

When the wires connecting to a given Y junction have

different values of g, the conductance tensor G

jk

for a chiral

ﬁxed point is no longer given by Eq. (2.4), but instead it takes

the form (see Ref. 28)

G

jk

= 2

g

j

(g

1

+g

2

+g

3

)δ

jk

+g

j

g

k

(±g

m

jkm

−1)

g

1

g

2

g

3

+g

1

+g

2

+g

3

. (5.1)

Using this conductance tensor, one can compute numerically

(using the method of the Appendix) the voltages and currents

in all wires of the network for a given realization of the

disorder.

We shall show below that the quantization R

xy

= 1 of

the Hall conductance that we found in the clean limit

remains in the thermodynamic limit, even in the presence

of disorder. For a ﬁnite lattice, as one should expect, there

are ﬂuctuations that we quantify below for the armchair

conﬁguration.

FIG. 6. (Color online) Standard deviation of the Hall resistance

for 100 simulations with ¯ g =

√

3 and δg = ¯ g/10 as a function of 1/L

for a grid with r = c = L (which ﬁxes the aspect ratio). It scales to

zero in the large L limit, implying that the system is self-averaging

and the Hall resistance R

xy

→1 independent of disorder in the

thermodynamic limit.

We compute Hall resistance R

xy

(deﬁned as the average of

the voltage differences between top and bottomof the network,

divided by the injected current) for several realizations of

disorder and system sizes. For a ﬁxed system size we

then ﬁnd the disorder average R

xy

and standard deviation

R

xy

=

R

2

xy

−R

xy

2

of R

xy

. We ﬁnd that R

xy

→1 as the

number of realizations increase, and that the standard deviation

R

xy

→0 as L increases (we use lattices with r = c = L).

We show in Fig. 6 the ﬁnite size scaling of the R

xy

.

That R

xy

→0 in the thermodynamic limit means that the

system is self-averaging, and therefore R

xy

→1 independent

of disorder in the thermodynamic limit. We conclude then that

quantization is robust against disorder.

We have also checked the effects of disorder for the zigzag

conﬁguration, reaching similar conclusions that disorder does

not alter the quantization of the conductance in the thermody-

namic limit.

In summary, we ﬁnd that, in the thermodynamic limit,

the general results of the previous sections hold even in the

presence of disorder.

VI. CONCLUSIONS

We investigated the transport properties of hexagonal

networks whose nodes are Y junctions of quantum wires.

In our model the 3 ×3 conductance tensor for each Y

junction is dictated by the low energy RG ﬁxed point, but

the transport is treated classically between any two junctions.

We ﬁnd a surprising result: In spite of relaxing quantum

coherence between the junctions, we ﬁnd a quantized Hall

resistance.

Speciﬁcally, in the regime where the junction conductance

is controlled by the chiral ﬁxed points χ

±

1,2

(when the

045128-5

JAIME MEDINA, DMITRY GREEN, AND CLAUDIO CHAMON PHYSICAL REVIEW B 87, 045128 (2013)

interaction parameter obeys 1 < g < 3), the network exhibits

a quantized Hall resistance R

xy

= ±h/e

2

. This quantization is

similar to that in the integer quantum Hall effect. Furthermore,

the quantization is independent of the interaction parameter

g even in the presence of disorder in g. The quantization

of the Hall resistance follows from the speciﬁc form of the

conductance tensor at the RG stable chiral ﬁxed point at each

Y junction. However, unlike in the quantized Hall effect,

where the longitudinal resistivity vanishes, ρ

xx

is not zero:

ρ

xx

= (

√

3/g) h/e

2

. Dissipation in the longitudinal direction

is a result of decoherence within the wires. We emphasize

that in our model the wires are classical, but the nodes remain

quantum mechanical and the form of the conductance tensor

G at each junction is constrained by quantum scattering

effects. The essential ingredient for the quantization of the Hall

conductance is the value of the chiral ﬁxed point conductance

of the individual junctions.

Finally, let us comment on the ﬁnite temperature corrections

to the value R

xy

= ±h/e

2

in the network. As opposed to

the case of the quantum Hall effect where the quantization

is exponentially accurate because of an energy gap, the

quantization in the networks has a power law correction in

T because the wire networks are gapless. The quantization

should be as accurate as the conductance tensor is close to

that of the RG ﬁxed point. The corrections to the conductance

tensor scale as T

, where = 4g/(3 +g

2

) is the scaling

dimension of the leading irrelevant operator at the chiral ﬁxed

points.

1,2

Notice that the temperature scaling of the conductivity

above should hold only under the assumption of decoherence

within the wires. However, as temperature goes to zero, the

coherence length increases, and therefore there is an implicit

assumption of order of limits for the results in this paper to

work as presented: The length of the wires should be taken to

inﬁnity before the limit of T = 0 is taken. But it is natural

to wonder whether the quantization that we found in this

work should persist or not even if transport along the wires is

always coherent. Indeed, one possibility is that in the coherent

regime one might have quantization of the Hall conductance

with vanishing longitudinal resistivity. However, to address

this regime one would need to tackle the fully interacting

two-dimensional fermionic model, which is beyond the scope

of this paper. One route to follow could be to consider a

lattice model where the wires are described by a tight-binding

model, with three wires coupled together at junctions by

hopping matrix elements between them. One could possibly

start with a noninteracting version of the model, where the

chiral conductances used in this paper are obtained by ﬁne

tuning to the ﬁxed point (since the noninteracting model is

marginal and there is no RG ﬂow). The problem then becomes

one of electrons in a superlattice, with the number of bands

scaling with the number of sites describing the wires within a

supercell. The Hall conductance for this tight-binding model

could be obtained by computing the Chern number of the ﬁlled

bands. If the Hall conductance does not vanish in this model, it

is only protected algebraically in temperature, as there would

be “mini gaps” separating bands that scale inversely with the

size of the wires, instead of true band gaps. Analyzing such

model may shine some light on the problem of wire networks

in the coherent regimes.

FIG. 7. Example with r = 2, c = 2. Note the row of “ghost

nodes” at the top edge.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

This work was supported in part by the DOE Grant No.

DE-FG02- 06ER46316 (C.C.).

APPENDIX: METHOD

Our numerical approach consists of solving the full lattice

model exactly. In this Appendix we describe our methodology

in detail.

Consider an arbitrary lattice with r external wires on each

side and 2c external wires at the top and bottom edges. An

equal current will be injected into each of the r wires on the

left, and the 2c edge wires will have a current of zero. This

deﬁnes the boundary conditions. A 2 ×2 lattice is shown for

example in Fig. 7. For later convenience we include a row

of 2c “ghost nodes,” shown as dotted lines at the top edge,

but they are only there to facilitate the numbering scheme and

no current will ﬂow through them. Including the ghost nodes

there are a total of N = 4c(r +1) nodes.

The points on each wire that emanate from each node are

governed by the equation V = GI, where Gis a 3 ×3 matrix.

Thus we start with 3N degrees of freedom. However, starting

in this way introduces many redundant variables in the bulk

because in a classical wire the current is the same everywhere

along the wire and so is the potential. We will unify the two

points on each wire in the bulk by imposing a set of constraints.

In general there are 6cr +c −r such constraints, which equals

the number of wires in the bulk.

To write down the full network equation let us label each

of the 3N points by (n,i), where n = 1, . . . ,N is the node

index and i = 1,2,3 refers to the point on each wire that

emanates from each node. The potentials and currents at each

of these points are denoted by V

(n)

i

and I

(n)

i

, respectively. To

illustrate this notation, in Fig. 7 the constraint along the wire

that connects nodes 6 and 7 would be written as V

(6)

1

= V

(7)

1

and I

(6)

1

= −I

(7)

1

.

045128-6

NETWORKS OF QUANTUM WIRE JUNCTIONS: A SYSTEM . . . PHYSICAL REVIEW B 87, 045128 (2013)

Each node obeys the relation V

(n)

= G

(n)

I

(n)

, where G

(n)

is

the 3 ×3 matrix from Eq. (2.1). The network is thus described

by the following linear equation with constraints:

I

(1)

I

(2)

.

.

.

I

(N)

=

G

(1)

0 · · · 0

0 G

(2)

· · · 0

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

0 0 · · · G

(N)

V

(1)

V

(2)

.

.

.

V

(N)

. (A1)

Next we impose the constraints to reduce the effective

dimensionality of the problem. Start with the set of point

pairs on each wire in the bulk {(n,i),(m,i)}, where n and m

are nearest neighbor nodes. The constraints are V

(n)

i

= V

(m)

i

and I

(n)

i

= −I

(m)

i

for each pair. We impose the constraint on

voltages by adding the (n,i)th and (m,i)th columns together,

removing the (m,i)th column and removing V

(m)

i

from the

vector of potentials in Eq. (A1). Similarly we impose the

constraint on currents by adding the (n,i)th and (m,i)th rows,

deleting the (m,i)th row and removing I

(m)

i

from the vector

of currents. Also we replace the current I

(n)

i

that has not been

eliminated by zero because I

(n)

i

+I

(m)

i

= 0. Therefore each

constraint is equivalent to removing one row and one column

and reduces the dimensionality of the original problemby one.

Furthermore, we have replaced each current in the bulk by zero

which is important because the only currents that are left in

Eq. (A1) are fully determined, being equal to either zero in the

bulk or to the boundary conditions.

Eliminating the ghost nodes is straightforward—we simply

remove the ghost currents, potentials, and their associated rows

and columns in Eq. (A1). This reduces the dimensionality

further by 3 ×2c, which is the number of wires emanating

from the ghost nodes. The ﬁnal step is to ﬁx the gauge. Since

all potentials are determined up to an overall constant, we pick

an arbitrary potential, set it to zero, and remove the associated

row and column from Eq. (A1).

To summarize, we started with 3N = 12c(r +1) redundant

degrees of freedom and then through successive transfor-

mations we imposed 6cr +c −r constraints in the bulk,

eliminated 6c ghost points, and ﬁxed one potential to zero. The

dimensionality has thus been reduced to 6rc +5c +r −1 and,

crucially, the only currents appearing are either zero or ﬁxed

by boundary conditions. Having eliminated all redundancies

allows us to solve for the potential at any point, as a function

of the boundary currents, by inverting the reduced version of

Eq. (A1), which we do numerically.

The generalization to random couplings g is straightfor-

ward. The derivation proceeds in exactly the same way as we

just described, but we start with nonuniform G

(n)

.

*

dmitrygreen2009@gmail.com

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The value R

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precision in Matlab.

045128-7

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